Typhoon Haiyan, a bona fide superstorm slammed into the Phillipines, decimating Tacloban, where an estimated 10,000 people were killed, Samar Islands, and Leyte, affecting approximately 11 million people; many being left homeless. The storm, which packed sustained winds of up to 315km/h (195 mph), is possibly the strongest the Phillipines have ever recorded. Maritess Tayag, a Tacloban survivor said her home town “looked like a World War II city,” alluding to the chaos of thousands of people trying to flee at once. She reported that there was a chaotic exodus at the airport, calling it “really really terrible.” Tragically her mother and brother are both missing and presumed dead.
Haiyan was unusually strong because anomalously high temperatures fed the system as is tracked from Kayangel to the central Phillipines. Meteorologist Dr. Jeff Masters notes that cyclonic storms often weaken themselves before they make landfall by churning up cold water, about 100 ft. (30m) below the surface. The water over the Pacific where Haiyan formed was unusually warm, around 5ºC (9ºF) warmer than usual.